Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Truth about Cats and Dogs

Back in the good old days when I was forced into single fatherhood, I started noticing that my elbows hurt all the time. My two youngest children were 1 and 3, and I spent a good amount of my time carrying them around because, I wanted to get things done a lot faster than they did. Simple enough, you pick the kids up and you get your shopping done faster. Pick the kids up and you can get them out and packed into the car quicker. Unfortunately my children were killing me because I had to come to grips with a distinct advantage that mothers had in this department than fathers do. They have hips, and truth be told I wouldn’t have them any other way.

Despite generations of deprogramming, that has tried to teach us that genders are basically identical, women have to be built like little boys to walk a runway in Paris, and the belief that all men have bought into this or else, the fact still remains that men and women are different, especially physically. The second of those is the worst in my estimation, as an outside observer, because most women actually have a nice figure. Sure they need to tweek things to get to where they want to be, but looking at the women that grace the cover of Vogue or Cosmopolitan as physical role models is not only wrong, it could quite possibly be insane.

Don’t get me wrong ladies, thanks to professional sports and the old “air brush” that makes the six packs on all Hollywood actors seem almost real, men have issues too. The difference is in the way a man seems to shrug these things off and somehow end up less likely to fall into the traps. I of course love the fact that I could almost (with the right camera angles, perhaps smaller scenery and a generous amount of photo shop) look like Captain America, but it has taken me a very very long time and dedication to do that. Most men would very easily say, “hey, I want to do that” just as easily say, “I want to drink beer and eat cheese puffs and that Jeremy isn’t a real man,” and life goes on.

Now comes the bad news before the good news, fair or not, women have a disadvantage in the amount of fat that they carry, and the amount of calories their bodies naturally use up in a day. The good news is that they look better with some extra fat on them, and they can just as easily as any man use musculature to their advantage. Bigger muscles burn more fat, and muscle density is a LOT more than fat density. Almost 4 pounds of muscle can fit into the same amount of space as a pound of fat. Using this hypothesis that “most women actually have a nice figure” I usually suggest “replacement” as opposed to stripping weight.

Think of it this way. My gym (the purple and yellow one) invested time and money into a “30 Minute Workout” area in all of their gyms. I don’t use it because I am more of the “I pick things up and put them down” type of individual, but God love em, this idea was brilliant. A lot of women who were torturing themselves for up to an hour a day on a treadmill, exercise bike, stair stepper etc, could simply walk away from that 3 or 4 days a week and spend time in the 30 Minute Workout area. Again for every pound of lean muscle they started putting on themselves they altered their metabolism to utilize up to 5% more calories a day, and put some tone in those curves that really aren’t a bad thing.

I have known a lot of women over the years who have come to me for advice. There was a time when I would explain the need to tone muscle before they waste their life trying to just burn fat. They would stare at me the whole time and then say “I don’t want to look like a bodybuilder,” to which maybe 1 out of 10, I could convince that they can’t without the steroids, so just try it. That 1 would go on to be happier, the other 9 would assume it was hopeless, give the treadmill a try for a few weeks and give up. It’s kinda sad really, but now that I can’t point into that 30 Minute Workout area, and they can see the perfectly healthy women, with curves, and smiles, that whole explanation has been a lot easier. If you are struggling with these things (or have a spouse that is struggling with these things) please give it a try for at least 6 weeks, every other day, and then come back and tell me that I was wrong. I love being wrong.